A Valley Station Road church is sponsoring an "Open Carry Church Service" in late June, encouraging people to wear unloaded guns in their holsters, enter a raffle to win a free handgun, hear patriotic music and listen to talks by operators of gun stores and firing ranges.The big day is slated for Saturday, June 27th. Online posters use a red font resembling splattered blood with the words: "Open Carry Church Service."
Pastor Ken Pagano of New Bethel Church said the first-time event is "basically trying to think a little bit outside the box" to promote "responsible gun ownership and 2nd Amendment rights."
Pagano denied that the poster was intended to glorify bloodshed and that the lettering was just "a font that somebody developed."You can see the poster on Alan Colmes site.
I'm sure Pastor Pagano is popular among the gun enthusiasts in his area, but not everyone is in agreement.
"Even if I were perfectly comfortable with open-carry handguns or gun rights, it seems to me a completely whole other thing to connect those rights to Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Jerry Cappel, president of the Kentuckiana Interfaith Community, a coalition of local leaders from various religions.
Tying in the event "with one who explicitly called us to put down the sword and pick up the cross and love our enemies and turn the other cheek, it just makes no sense," he said.
The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper of Lexington, who has lobbied against laws such as one allowing citizens with permits to carry concealed weapons, said the event "would nauseate Jesus."
What's your opinion? What about the question of reconciling the non-violent message of Jesus with guns? Does that create a dilemma for the Christian gun owner?
In the video, Pagano said the guns he expects to see in his service are mainly for "sport" and only as a last resort for "self-defense." Does that sound right to you? I had the opposite impression, why do you think the pastor said that?
Over on One Utah, there were a number of references to this story, including this typically insightful comment by Becky.
That may seem perfectly logical to you, but to me it is a most unbelievable thing to imagine a pastor promoting. What is more antithetical to spirituality than guns? Why would a man of God, in a group that believes we should not kill and we should turn the other cheek, and blessed are the peacemakers think this is a good idea? Is there not one place people can go and expect to be free from the threat and negative emotional impact of seeing guns? I know the answer. But it just seems wrong to me.
If a person is seeking peace, calm, spirituality, I would think the appearance of all that cold steel would be a real deterrent. I know it would be for me.
If there is another life and there is a Jesus looking down on his followers, he must feel terribly sad to know this is what it has all come to.
What's your opinion? Please feel free to leave a comment.